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A Shout Out to the Twin Cities Northern Suburbs

Anoka County Map
Anoka County Map

It’s hard to believe, over two and a half years ago, I hung out my shingle as Gray Duck Dent Repair. A lot of work goes into running your own business, but the rewards outweigh the challenges. My trade allows me mobility and the ability to go just about anywhere in the metro area to serve my customers. This kind of flexibility and convenience to my clients represents the backbone of my company. I get calls from all over the Twin Cities and beyond. And, believe me, I appreciate all business. But, I know where my bread is buttered. I want to give a special thank you to the northern suburbs, mostly in Anoka County and Northern Hennepin County. Today, I’m going to mention each one individually, just to let you know a little bit about them. But, in the coming months, along with our regular blog topics, I will spotlight one or two of these communities. Although relatively close logistically, they all possess a unique flavor that goes way beyond split-level houses and shopping malls.


Founded in 1857, Andover became incorporated in 1972. The 2010 census recorded a population of nearly 31,000, and as a popular place to raise families, that number surely will grow. With a backdrop of natural beauty, it also offers an array of family-friendly activities such as the Fun Fest in July. And, would you believe authentic Mexican food exists in Andover. The popular restaurant Acapulco opened up in 2016 in Andover. Jesus and Maria Leon emigrated from Mexico to open up their first restaurant in Coon Rapids in 1996. And, even though Andover’s Acapulco may come in at number eight, the food sings with authenticity.


Anoka represents the county seat of Anoka County. Some may refer to it as a northern suburb, but Anoka charms you with its small-town feel and historic Main Street. It incorporated in 1878 but still remains relatively small, with its 2010 census population coming in at just over 17,000. You may know it as the Halloween capital of the world. You’ll find plenty of one-of-a-kind restaurants, bars, and coffee houses in Anoka, but for something extraordinary, try out the Mad Hatter Tea House. Stay tuned! We’ll explore Anoka a lot more next month.


Blaine relatively recently beat Coon Rapids out as the most populous city in Anoka County as its citizen count approaches 66,000. Irish immigrants began settling here in 1877, and it became an officially incorporated city in 1954. Northtown Shopping Mall holds a Blaine address, but, of course, we’ll talk about lots of other things to do in Blaine soon. But, hey, if you’re looking for comfort food in the meantime, try Carol’s Restaurant.

Brooklyn Park:

Brooklyn Park teeters on the northern edge of Hennepin County. You’ll find a lot of car dealerships and auto shops in Brooklyn Park, but to balance that out, lots of trees provide oxygen in the city’s 47 miles of trails and 67 parks. Brooklyn Park holds the title of one of the “tree cities” in the US. With a population right around 80,000, you better believe there’s plenty to do. We’ll get to more details in a future blog, but for now, if you want a great breakfast, try Fat Nat’s Eggs.

Coon Rapids:

Coon Rapids boasts a population of 63,000+ and growing. Founded in 1857, it reached city status in 1959. Besides lots of people, you’ll find a lot of beautiful natural spots in Coon Rapids, including Coon Rapids Regional Dam. Of course, when it comes to food, plenty of chain restaurants exist. But, many eateries offer a unique and delicious dining experience, such as the Texas Roadhouse. 

Ham Lake:

With a population of somewhere around 16,000, Ham Lake represents a small suburban community surrounded by Andover, Blaine, Coon Rapids, and more. Scottish immigrants originally founded it in 1855, but then a fire broke out that left it dormant until about 1866 when the Norwegians took over. As far as things to do, well, there’s the ham-shaped lake, of course. Getting to a variety of restaurants in neighboring communities only takes a few minutes, but if you’re looking for a Ham Lake original, try Mansetti’s Pizza and Pasta. Ham Lake also boasts a few surprises, but we’ll talk more about that in a future blog.

As I look back over the last eleven years, I’m grateful for all I’ve learned and experienced, but especially for all the communities and customers who make this thing work. And, no matter where you live in the Metro Area, if you need a dent fixed, please give me a call.

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